Christian Info News distributes 340,000 copies per month of its 40-page free paper (50% ads) around Southwestern British Columbia and the Okanagan area. The March issue profiles 10 Christian teachers, principals and trustees who appear to have infiltrated the public school system. One goal is that ". . . Christian identity in the public school system needs to be carefully and prayerfully developed." One of the university teachers profiled is Wanda Cassidy of Simon Fraser University. She says: "Christianity is basically loving and caring for kids."
It's hard to suppress the rage that this stupid statement engenders. The unmistakable implication in the statement is that those of us parents who choose reason over irrationality and hold no religious beliefs, cannot love or care for our kids. The Minister of Education should be aware of these potential violators of the Schools Act. It's too bad the only place this information is available is in a publication that can only be tolerated by members of the Christ cult. It is a scandal that our public school system is riddled with religious proselytizers and it is a secret from the general population.
Jim Keegstra, an ex-Alberta school teacher charged in 1984 with wilfully promoting hatred regarding the holocaust, has had his conviction restored by the Supreme Court of Canada after it was thrown out by the Alberta Court of Appeals and has been sentenced to 2 years in the clink.
Surprisingly, it was not up to the Crown to prove Keegstra guilty, but rather, the onus was on him to prove his innocence, i.e. that what he was saying was true. Is this not contrary to what we've always held to be true: that under Canadian law, an accused is presumed innocent until PROVEN GUILTY? Apparently not, and neither is it unconstitutional under Canada's Hate Law. Well, this suits the B'nai Brith just fine. They whine that such pickiness would "exact a heavy toll" and would force any religious minority to justify its very existence. (Poor things.)
We suggest this fiasco should never have gone further than the jurisdiction of the school board under which Keegstra taught. Don't like what he's teaching? He's not following the designated curriculum? Can him! But a censorship law that holds jail sentences is not only scary but, judging from the real dangers to society that are allowed free to roam, it is ludicrous.
It goes without saying that support for Keegstra's right to freedom of expression does not imply agreement with his views.
A metaphysician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there, and a theologian is one who finds the cat.
Public sightings of novelist Salman Rushdie have been growing more frequent in recent months, despite the Iranian death sentence under which he has lived for seven years. (Yes, that was Salman on the Jay Leno Show. ed.) It's still risky, but he argues: "To go on writing and to live more openly are my ways of showing that I have not been intimidated. Some commentators have criticized me for being seen in public\; let them consider the 'message' that would be sent by my remaining invisible. Do we really want to tell the world that fatwas work?"
"The church says that the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." Ferdinand Magellan
A movement in Colorado has gathered more than 88,000 signatures on a petition calling for equal taxation. In other words, tax the churches.
We have researched church property assessment figures for our Greater Vancouver, BC area which includes the city and 11 surrounding municipalities with a population of about 1.3 million. The tax exempt assessed value of churches in the 12 areas totals $854,738,500! The average residential mill rate for the group is 7.309. This represents forgone tax revenue of $6,247,280. If we do rough calculations to include the whole country we conclude that the religious loopholers are getting away without paying taxes of about $160,000,000 in Canada. We wonder why cash-starved local governments don't jump at the chance to ask the churches to participate in the community instead of riding free.
An essay by Robby Berry which originated on an internet discussion group for ex-Christians who became atheists addressed the common question of whether or not they should "come out" and declare their new-found atheism or to continue to feign their Christianity when around family and friends. The following points are Berry's case for NOT staying in the closet:
Staying in the closet wastes energy and is emotionally draining and unhealthy. It requires lying to friends and family which in turn generates guilt.
Staying in the closet isolates you from the atheist community. Pretending to be Christian will attract those of "like mind" to you while discouraging the preferred company of atheists who otherwise may want to befriend you.
Staying in the closet wastes your time. As a pretend Christian you will be expected to participate in neighbourhood events such as church services and gatherings and join church-run kinship groups.
It is inevitable that you will be found out anyway because no atheist could possibly keep up a Christian facade indefinitely. You will be more tolerated (and respected) as a true atheist than as a phoney Christian.
You will be able to promote atheism by being an example to others as to what an atheist can be, thereby breaking the stereotypical evil image that is perpetuated by religious dogma.
Berry stops short, however, of encouraging the "coming out" of those to whom it would mean the loss of a job or home or risk of physical attack. But these dangers notwithstanding, he says, "We have an incredible amount of freedom compared to atheists of the past, and I think we owe it to their memory to take advantage of it."
We have been looking at the "Vision" channel from time to time. We recommend that all of our readers check out this cesspool of ignorance just to know what the religious liars and frauds are up to. Two of our favourites are the Hinn brothers. A smarmier pair of hustlers would be hard to find. Benny works the US market and Henry does Canada out of a warehouse in Richmond, BC. (We're going to go down and watch Henry practice medicine without a license one Sunday.) It's hard to believe this guy can find enough suckers even to pay for the maintenance on his silver Mercedes. If he came to your door selling encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners, you'd call the cops. Henry's latest deal is: you bring a bottle of Evian, Perrier or tap water to the show and he'll "bless" it for you. This apparently turns the water into snake oil and when you drink it, your tumour disappears, your gout clears up and your aneurism snaps back negating the requirement for a triple by-pass.
Benny makes Henry look like an amateur. He looks into the camera and cures people he can't see. He'll say "somebody out there has a hole in their lung. Don't worry about it. Jesus is with you now and he's healing the hole in your lung." Then he creates another imaginary sick person and claims another "healing". And so it goes. We think that Attorneys General should come down on these bozoes like a ton o' bricks.
It would be fascinating to know what visitors from another galaxy would make of our cemeteries. The use of millions of acres of (largely tax-free!) pristine parkland to maintain the religious tradition of storing rotten cadavers forever. And why does it always have to be the best view property?
Wire services have reported that the Vatican drafted an ambitious plan to expand its national land area during the final days of World War II. Pope Pius XII and his cronies devised the scheme in 1944. The land grab would have expanded the 106 acre city-state to include a large corridor stretching to the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 12 miles to the southwest. Located in the parcel is the Castel Gandolfo, considered a "vacation residence" for the pope, and a home to the Vatican Observatory. Survey maps also indicate the presence of towns including Fiumicino and Lida di Ostia The documents about this plan, "recently uncovered", may prove to be a treasure-trove for Vatican watchers. How could such a plan have been justified? And how could it have been sold to the Military Occupation Government as American troops swept northward towards Germany as World War II came to its conclusion? One possibility -- Vatican services to the Axis in the form of the "Rat Line" which the "Holy See" operated. This provided cover, funds and phony documents for Nazi fugitives, especially SS thugs\; numerous Nazis found their way to the United States, and many worked in the early American rocket and space program. The Vatican may also have thought of the land grab as payment for various other "services rendered".
Why should Atheists be concerned about what is happening in Germany with censorship by Compuserve? Scratch just about any "decency campaign", examine any organization of bluenose do-gooders who say they are "protecting children" or combatting smut, and you'll find a religious presence, religious funding, and religious people justifying their authoritarian invasiveness on religious principles. From Conrad Goeringer - TheistWatch
--- What do you get when you cross an Atheist with a Jehovah's Witness? ******************* Someone who knocks on your door for absolutely no reason at all.
"There will never be peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshippers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy money changers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top. ....there is absolutely no way that government can operate successfully unless led by godly men and women operating under the laws of the God of Jacob" Pat Robertson "The New World Order" (1991)
The ignorance that perpetuates religion, the "ignoring" of science, is a task that theologians take seriously. They work hard at it. One outfit in Ontario, The Institute for Christian Studies, has figured out how to identify our newsletter without opening it and they send it back. You'd think that the study of Christianity would demand a good hard look at the very real scientific possibility that it's all bogus. Wouldn't you? We'll disguise it so they have to actually open it to see the 'A' word before they shred it. That'll fix 'em!
If you think we can use contributions to help with postage and printing - - - you're right! We sincerely thank those who have helped so far.
More and more Islamic young men will be strapping on vests of dynamite and blowing themselves up along with any unfortunate Jewish bystanders as the Arab-Israeli conflict escalates. And why not. They will not only be escaping from their miserable, poverty-ridden existences but Islam teaches them that they will have exalted positions as Mohammed's martyrs with the added bonus of lying by rushing streams in lush gardens beside the nubile bodies of lovely dark-eyed, high-busted houris -- 72 virgins EACH by some reports, but not at all daunting to Mohammed's 'Macho Macho Men'.
Also, they believe that great honour will be brought to their families in the community and many benefits will be given to them (probably including thousands of frequent flyer points).
Meanwhile, back on the ground young Islamic women have no such paradise to contemplate. In order to curb any sinful sexual desires in them, they continue to be mutilated. Midwives and barbers, or uncles with switchblades, perform the atrocity of slicing off the clitoris and any exposed genitalia, often without benefit of anesthetic, resulting in unspeakable pain, horrendous bleeding, chronic infection and many times, death.
Despite the Egyptian government's attempt to curb this practice, first by refraining from criminalizing it so that it could be performed under sanitary hospital supervision, then by criminalizing it, the number of Islamic Egyptian women who have been and continue to be mutilated in this fashion are approximated at between 70 and 90%! Maybe a good thing to keep in mind if you plan on spending your tourist bucks doing the camel thing around the Pyramids.
As promised, Allan Rock, Justice Minister, has moved to criminalize female genital mutilation in Canada, a practice he believes will be brought in with fundamentalist Islamic immigrants. An Iranian mouthpiece reported on a news broadcast that these measures by Rock were totally uncalled for and that proponents of this religious practice should be educated, not criminalized. (And all newly arrived immigrants with cannibalistic tendencies should be educated that it just isn't acceptable here to eat people and gently weaned onto Big Macs and Spaghettios.) No, we must send out a strong message to these religious barbarians that freedom of religion in this country has its limits.
And we can only hope that just maybe, one day, Islamic fundamentalists will take a long hard look at their religion and ask themselves that aged old question: Are we having fun yet?
"Trying to find god is a good deal like looking for money one has lost in a dream." Lemuel K. Washburn
Thirty-three percent of all American adults claim "God" speaks to them directly but a Canadian neuro-scientist has different ideas about this. His name is Michael A. Persinger and he is Director of the Behavioral Neuro-Science Laboratory at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.
On CBC Radio's 'Sunday Morning', aired January 7/96, Professor Persinger said that religious visions and "divine" voices are in fact the product of electrical flare-ups in the brain. "God" is in the brain's chemistry. In other words, in your head.
He began with what he refers to as "the last major challenge to neuro-science" which is the understanding of the sense of self, to which the sense of a soul, "God" and immortality are intimately tied.
The sense of self is primarily a left-hemispheric, language-based phenomenon of the brain and along with it is the capacity to anticipate its own demise. That is, death. Mapping the thought process has shown that the idea of a sense of self, being individualistic, usually emerges at four or five years of age, bringing with it the immediate anticipation that the sense of self will dissolute. This produces tremendous anxiety and apprehension.
However, there are usually cultures around that say "No, you won't die. You can live independently onward." This idea naturally reduces the anxiety and becomes a belief, and the stronger the belief, the more the anxiety is reduced. You are now convinced that your unique self may well achieve immortality, particularly if your culture gives you a verbal label such as "God" which has as its characteristics infinity and everywhere (omnipresence).
By stimulating areas of the temporal lobe, their research found that the prototype of the "God" experience or the visitation experience, was the sense of a presence, of something near by or behind and in the laboratory they were able to generate this sense of a presence in many individuals. People would identify this presence as being real but not them, that is, ego alien, basically the equivalent of their left hemispheric sense of self represented within the right hemisphere of the brain, They would experience information coming not from their mind but from "another" mind.
Is the sense of a "God" then a delusion? Professor Persinger concurred that it is, saying that by definition a delusion is an organization of thought or a belief that cannot be substantiated, But he gently added, "Delusions are not abnormal\; they are simply ways that we organize the world. They help us to reduce our anxiety. In actual fact, the "God" belief may be the last cherished illusion . . ."
Cardinal Roger Mahony recently anointed a new Chevron gas station in Oakhurst, California. The priest sprinkled 'holy' water on the station's entrance, pumps, snack area, ice machine, and even blessed a cigarette advertisement depicting the Marlboro man. Good grief. Freethought Today 3/96
The bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Viruses of the Mind - by Richard Dawkins
"A human child is shaped by evolution to soak up the culture of her people . . . It is no wonder that children's brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestions, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns. Like immune-deficient patients, children are wide open to mental infections that adults might brush off without effort."
The capybara is a shy and intelligent rodent that in size (40 Kg) and colour looks much like a pig. Yet in the 16th Century, in response to a petition by Venezuelans and Colombians, the Pope decreed that the capybara is a fish! This dispensation enables observant communicants to consume the creature during the Fast of Lent (when the consumption of meat is prohibited). To this day, that rodent remains a fish. Scientific American Oct./94
Ottawa, January 25, 1996, The Day of the Jackasses. Twenty-three of them, on the occasion of being sworn-in in John Chretien's game of Musical Chairs for Cabinet Ministers, paraded one by one into the chamber before TV cameras, each clutching his/her very own (or borrowed) bible.
Our question: Was this en mass strutting out of a piece of Judeo-Christian religious paraphernalia during a government ceremony a SINCERE display of the reverence these parliamentarians have for a book that is rife with sadistic fairy tales of mass murder and other obscenities -- which would mean they are idiots? Or was it just going-through-the-motions type of political piety (for they now sitteth on the right hand of Chretien -- The Poo-Bah Almighty) which would mean they are hypocrites?
The only thing missing from this bit of official government business was an incense swinger in a nightshirt and pointy hat. We think that Justice Minister Allan Rock needs to get some more mail. Big time.
It was duly noted that new British Columbia Premier Glen Clark used no religious icons when he was sworn-in to office in February.
So what's the deal with this heaven place? What are folks going to do there? Will there be golf? Will the green fees be affordable? Will the score on every round be 18? Sand traps? Water hazards? And what about the 19th hole saloon? We have many questions. Will there be caddies? When replacing divots, will the gowns stay closed at the back?
Religion has caused more misery on this planet than any other single idea. Nothing clarifies that statement better than a quote we found in a book titled Great Medical Disasters by Dr. Richard Gordon (1986-Dorset Press):
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, Jesus sent forth his disciples, knowing of course the forthcoming split of medicine into therapeutics, epidemiology, resuscitation, and psychiatry. The Early Christians obeyed with evangelical zeal. They claimed exclusive world rights in healing, prescribing prayer, and fasting. The human was sacred, never to be violated by dissection (the Moslems agreed). RELIGION THUS IMMOBILIZED MEDICINE FOR FIFTEEN CENTURIES."
"The time appears to me to have come when it is the duty of all to make their dissent from religion known." John Stuart Mill
Here's what we would like to see in the coming non-religious society.
10. Jurors must take an oath upon a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species before they can serve.
9. Forms for job applications, government aid and so forth often ask what type of atheist you are, with check-boxes for "atheist", "agnostic", "humanist" and so forth. If you are a religionist, the only thing you can do is check the "other" box --if one is provided.
8. Most major newspapers run a special weekly section devoted to atheism. There are no equivalent sections for religious news.
7. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides deny membership to anyone with religious affiliations.
6. In the military it is impossible to obtain Conscientious Objector status for religious reasons but one may do so easily for philosophical reasons.
5. Churches, temples and mosques are forced to pay exorbitant taxes to make up for all the years of free rides.
4. Many religious people will have to stay in the closet fearing retribution if their dirty little secret becomes known.
3. It is impossible to drive anywhere without seeing a Darwin fish, a "Jesus Was A Fraud" or a "Mohammed Sucks" bumper sticker plastered to a car.
2. On Sunday mornings, all major television channels broadcast pro-atheist shows. Religious programming is relegated to one half hour per week between 3:00 and 4:00 AM, when the children are safely asleep.
1. Gallup polls show 85 to 90% of North Americans do not believe in gods, myths, soothsayers or superstitions of any kind.
Matthew wrote an odd tale of one Jesus, Who said all kinds of things just to tease us. You'll all be "saved," he ranted and raved, Then died on the cross to appease us.
From The Boomer Bible by R.F. Laird
The church is the last place where a fool can stand up and talk for hours without having anybody tell him to shutup and sit down.
As of January, this year, a computer query for the topics 'atheism' or 'atheist' at the spectacular new library in Vancouver BC, will take the inquirer directly to this publication which is available free to library visitors and is catalogued and kept on file in the Social Sciences Department.
A couple of Reform Party MP's are lobbying their party in an effort to 'hide' the blatant right wing extremism that seems to be their hallmark.
According to a review of a book by Sydney Sharpe and Don Braid: Storming Babylon, reviewed by Gordon Andrus in Humanist in Canada, Preston Manning is . . . the only major political leader in Canada today who "believes that the world can end at any moment with the physical return of Jesus, that every corpse in every grave on Earth will rise up and live again, to face Christ and hear His judgement, that the saved will go to heaven and the damned will burn forever in hell."
A local newspaper in Revelstoke, BC runs a weekly column called The Good Word, written by one or another of the town's clergy. When letters to the editor pointing out errors in fact and history contained in the column were censored, a local weekly magazine asked our associates in Revelstoke, BC, Fern and Laurence Wayman, to contribute a monthly column called Freethought Forum. The column, probably the only one of its kind in the country has stirred some welcome thought and discussion. We like it!
Many people, especially the young, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with established religions. The Vancouver Sun recently reported that 31% of Greater Vancouver residents have no religion and that many of these are atheists. It seems that more and more of us are becoming aware of the perils of people living the fantasy that a mythical god is watching over us as some kind of guardian -- and are speaking out about it! If recent popular music reflects what people are currently thinking, as has been suggested, then we are undergoing remarkable change in our understanding of religious phenonnon. It appears that more of us are realizing that religion is the biggest, most destructive, most pervasive lie ever told. Judging from the increased amount of communication that is resulting from use of the Internet, we are heading for a sudden paradigm shift with respect to religion in general. We look forward to a time when people will regard religion as an unfortunate aberrational part of their cultural background.
We are encouraged by the number of people we hear from who are pleased to have discovered that we exist, and the number of people we learn about who have left religion behind them (or at least are in the process of recovering from it). It is apparent that the Internet is the perfect infrastructure for assisting in this transformation. In the new paradigm the word 'religion' will bring connotations of past cultures and will not represent any current belief system. To bring this about, we must constantly question what appears to be true. We must demand that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
The task of an atheist society is to point relentlessly to the absurdity of religious dogma. Yes, this is an invitation for fellow atheists to come out of the closet. Until recently it seems most atheists have had a ho-hum attitude towards religion. They use the lazy excuse: "Why bother?". Lets get on with placing religion into history. The number of non-religious people is growing but has not yet reached critical mass. Our goal is to push theists into a minority and when they are, there will be real change. Join us! Call us! Write us! Stimulate your conscience! Let's get at it! "We are as one" from diesseits, Berlin
The Canadian Atheist Published by The Canadian Atheist Society Publisher & Editor: Ray Blessin Associate Editor: Fern Wayman Contributors: Laurence Wayman Charles Gleave Richard Nistuk firstname.lastname@example.org Phone:(604)525-0233 Fax: (604)525-4911 P.O. Box 41613 923 12th Street